Hurricane Michael Remembrance Clergy Prayers

Four of our clergy along the Florida Panhandle were asked to share prayers to be used in worship on October 6. We invite the churches in the Alabama-West Florida Conference to use one of these in the best way for your local church. 

 

A Remembrance Prayer by Dr. Nathan Attwood of Marianna First United Methodist Church

Gracious God:

Your word tells us you help us in our weakness, that though we know not how to pray, your Spirit intercedes for us in groans too deep for words.

What can we say about all that you have brought us through since our home was broken by the storm? How can we talk about it? How can we share in a way others can understand? How can we tell about what it was like? 

We tell stories. We share pictures. We talk it through. But only those who walked through it know. 

You took flesh. You dwelt among us. You were there. 

You know. You know. 

You never went home. You stayed with us. 

You pitched your tent among the debris and the sawdust and the heat and the fear. You heard the whirring of generators and the tac-tac-tac of nail guns. You heard the mothers' prayers huddled in hallways holding their babies begging you to spare their lives. You stood in line for a hamburger when there was nowhere to buy food.

You sent your Son. 

You sent church vans full of saints and trucks full of supplies. You sent UMCOR and money and massive pyramids of bottled water. Canadians and Cajuns and Okies and Alabamians found their way to little towns that had been blown off the map. They came because you sent them. When they arrived, we knew we would never be alone. 

The world quickly forgot us. The news cycle moved on and our institutions failed us. You didn't forget us. Your people didn't forget us. You never failed us. Your Bride never failed us.

You were patient with us when our patience wore out. You were order in our chaos. You wiped every tear from our eyes. You are putting our communities slowly back together. You are putting us slowly back together.

We have never for a second figured out the way to do any of this. It's OK. You are the way. 

What is there to say? Thank you. Our hope, our comfort, our deliverer. Thank you.

Amen.
Click here to download a pdf document of this prayer

 

A Remembrance Prayer by Rev. John Blount of St. Andrew United Methodist Church
Creator God, from chaos you created all things, and called them good. You called your people Israel and brought them out of bondage. You delivered them through the parched and barren lands to a new home. Through a cross, your Son called us to be your people.  And as a loving parent you have never deserted us. Your word is true and trustworthy and we will forever praise your name.  

Andrew, Katrina, Michael, Dorian…storms have come and gone…we will never be the same. Yet out of destruction we have found not death but new life and resurrection. As we stand in the long path of recovery after Hurricane Michael on October 10, 2018, we thank you that you have not forsaken us. We thank you for our first responders who came from Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma, the ones who have known the horror of devastation. We thank you for our neighbors on 30-A and our surrounding states who did not rest until the power was restored. We thank you for our brothers and sisters from around the country who have continued to pray, send teams, and financial resources to our churches and communities. We thank you for each day that has been better than the one before. We thank you for our community we call church, that through it we have lifted each other up, shared your love, proclaimed your name, and sang the hymns of our youth with renewed fervor and meaning. Your word has been nectar to our souls and fuel for our bodies.  

We have learned that we do not need a building to be the church. We have also learned how nice a building would be if we had one. O lord, you know we need workers and money from insurance in order to rebuild. We pray for the executives of our insurance companies that they would hear our cries for restoration and we pray for affordable housing for our laborers. As we pray for our needs we lift up our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas after Dorian. We pray for them and all who stretch out their arms in need to you.  

O Lord, you have delivered us from the brink of destruction but this storm is not over. Give us your strength so that we might persevere on the journey ahead. You have opened our eyes and hearts to the needs of our neighbors and we pray you will restore us so that we might better serve them. In all things, Lord, you are our hope so let us hold fast to your word and reach for new horizons in your holy name of Jesus. Through the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit we pray.  Amen.   
Click here to download a pdf document of this prayer

 

A Remembrance Prayer by Rev. Craig Carter of Lynn Haven United Methodist Church
O Lord our God, you are our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. You have confirmed the truth of Your Word to our brothers and sisters recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Michael. Over the past year you have demonstrated your lovingkindness through Your divine protection and provision. We thank You for the ways in which You have used this tragedy to accomplish Your divine will – bringing hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless. This tragic event has brought believers together from all walks of life and we have seen Your grace revealed through the goodness and generosity of Your people, especially the people called Methodists. 

Today we pray for those who are still suffering and seeking to rebuild their lives. We ask for You to provide shelter for those who are displaced or living in homes in disrepair. We seek Your aid for congregations who do not have a permanent place to worship. We plead for Your Holy Spirit to bring comfort to those who have fear, anxiety, and grief over their troubling circumstances. 

Help all of us to learn the valuable lesson learned by our fellow believers on the Gulf Coast who have seen their church property damaged or destroyed, yet have carried on the work of Christ. The Church is more than a building. The Church is wherever Your people are living out their calling to be the Body of Christ. Empowered by Your Holy Spirit, we have witnessed decimated congregations continue Jesus’ ministry by giving aid to the poor, lending a helping hand to their neighbors, and extending love and compassion to strangers. Teach us to reach beyond our church walls and truly live life on mission in our community and world.

As our friends continue to recover and rebuild, give them grace to carry on and give them hope for the future. We ask all these things in the name of the One who is our Living Hope, Jesus Christ. In Him, by Him, and through Him we find abundant and eternal life. Amen. 
Click here to download a pdf document of this prayer. 

 

A Remembrance Prayer by Dr. Geoffrey Lentz of First United Methodist Church of Port St. Joe

Almighty God,

On the Florida coast,
The waves battered, the wind blew,
but your love remained steadfast.
Steeples collapsed, buildings crumbled
but your church stood strong.
Homes fell, lives destroyed,
but your faithfulness sustained.
We celebrate your presence and power 
in the midst of the storm.
We celebrate the rebuilding and recovery
by the hands of so many.
Hold close all still battered by wind and wave.  
Lift up all who need comfort and hope.
Empower us to continue to walk with them the long road of recovery.  
Through Jesus Christ, who is the peace that calms all storms.  Amen.  
Click here to download a pdf document of this prayer.